The Mahdi's Physical Features
In addition to his moral values and struggle, our Prophet (saas) described the Mahdi’s physical appearance in great detail so that those who see him will immediately recognize him.
One verse reveals that the People of the Book will recognize the Prophet (saas) as “they recognize their own sons.”
Those We have given the Book recognize it as they recognise their own sons. Yet a group of them knowingly conceal the truth. (Surat al-Baqara, 146)
In the figurative sense, this verse refers to recognizing the Mahdi. When the Mahdi appears, people will recognize him, due to our Prophet’s (saas) descriptions of him, just as they do their own children. Yet despite this, some people will pretend not to recognize him and will deny him.
He is Beatiful And Radiant
He (the Mahdi) is a beautiful young man with an attractive face. The radiance of his countenance rises to his head and the black of his hair. (Mahdisim and Imamate, p. 153)
Allah tells us of Prophet Yusuf’s (as) beauty:
She said [to Yusuf]: “Go out to them.” When they saw him, they were amazed by him and cut their hands. (Surah Yusuf, 31)
He Has Black Hair
The light of his face rises to his head and the black of his hair. (Mahdisim and Imamate, p. 153)
He Has a Mole on His Face
The Mahdi has a thick beard, bright front teeth, a mole on his face, and a broad forehead. (Fera Idu Fevaidi'l Fiqr,)
He Has the Sign of The Prophet (saas) on His Sholder
The Mahdi will have the sign of our Prophet (saas) on his shoulder. (Ibid., p. 41)
As can be seen from these hadiths, the Mahdi will have “the sign of the Prophet (saas),” an evident mark, between his shoulders. Islamic sources describe this mark as follows:
Abu Saib ibn Yazid relates that: “My eye saw the seal of the Prophet (saas) between his shoulders.” (Sunan Tirmidhi, 6:126)
The Mahdi is Arab in coloring… (al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar, p .15-75)
Note: The Arab complexion is a mixture of red and white.
Our Prophet (saas) had a reddish-white complexion. However, the visible parts of his skin were nearer to brown because of the Sun and the wind. The Mahdi will be the same color as the Prophet (saas), whose complexion is described thus:
Anas b. Malik said this about the Prophet’s (saas) complexion: He was white, but a brownish white. (Ibn Kathir, Shamail Rasul, p. 28)
Not dark brown and not white, but with a little red. The Servant of God’s color is as white as that of someone who has just left the baths and grown a little pink, a color the like of which nobody else will have at that time. In other words, his complexion is a radiant white mixed with pink.
His General Appearance
The Mahdi’s height is like that of the sons of Israel (Bani Israel). (al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar, pp. 29-36)
The Mahdi will be of average height. (al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar, p. 41)
We learn from accounts that he is the same height as our Prophet (saas):
Anas stated that: ‘The Prophet (saas) was of middling height.” As we know, the word “rab’a” in the hadith means normal, medium stature. But there is a limit to normal height in the eyes of tall people, because normal height refers seven handspans. (Hadith at-Tirmidhi, Shamail Sharif, p. 15)
He Has a Broad Body
The hadiths reveal that the Mahdi has a broad abdomen, chest, brow, and a gap between his legs and thighs. His head will be large in proportion to the width of his forehead. All of these descriptionsindicate that the Mahdi’s body will be broad.
He is large of body... (Al-Uqayli, An-Najmu al-Saqib, )
His Brow is Clear And Broad
The hadiths relate that the Mahdi’s brow will be clear and broad, and that his head will be proportionately large.
The Mahdi is one of my people ... His brow is open. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat, p. 21)
He Has a Large Stomach
His brow is open … his stomach large, and the space between his thighs is open… (Ibid., p. 13)
His Thighs Are Long
His thighs are long, he is Arab in coloring. (Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah, pp. 162-63)
One feature of his is that as he walks there is a space between his thighs, and they are at a distance from one another. (al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar, p. 32)
The hadiths mention how old the Mahdi will be when he embarks upon his task, when people will recognize him, and when they will see and follow his activities.
He will be sent when he is between 30 and 40. The Mahdi is one of my children… He is around 40.(Ibid., p. 41)
His beard will be thick and luxurious. (al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar, p. 23)
His Nose is Beautiful
His brow is broad, and his nose will be thin. (Hadith al-Tirmidhi)
His Eyebrows And Eyes
He has a clear brow, a small nose, and large eyes... (Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah, p. 163)
The hadiths state that there will be a space between the Mahdi’s eyebrows and that the gap between his eyes and eyebrows will be large.
The Beauty And Brightness of His Teeth
His teeth will be bright. (Nu’aym ibn Hammad, vr. 52a; al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar, p. 41)